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Dr. Josip Stjepandic

The Making of OpenDESC.com

 

By Dr. Josip Stjepandic, head of the
3DPC business unit at PROSTEP and
the driving force behind OpenDESC.com

When I joined PROSTEP,

automotive suppliers were occasionally severely handicapped by the demanding requirements of their customers, the automobile manufacturers. Therefore, one of my first tasks involved establishing a service for converting the automotive suppliers’ CAD data. The first pilot project was soon brought to a successful close, and the OpenDESC service was officially launched onto the market 1 July 1998. Happily, our earliest customer, a manufacturer of exhaust gas components, has been loyal to us ever since.

As part of the Internet expansion, we not only placed OpenDESC downstream of our OpenDXM portal in the year 2000 but also added ".com" to the name. Shortly thereafter we were awarded the "Innovationspreis der deutschen Wirtschaft" (Innovation Award of German Industry) and the "Hessische Innovationspreis" (Hesse Innovation Award) for this unique service offering in the web.

The manufacturers' level of globalization increased,

and with it their requirements: a rigid communication procedure with clearly defined processes, methods and tools was mandatory. So we developed OpenDESC.com into a universal communications platform for manufacturers and suppliers that includes conversion, data preparation, transfer and migration services.

Since then we have acquired a number of customers who place their entire communication processes in our hands, thus avoiding having to make an investment in hardware and software – the only prerequisite for using OpenDESC.com is a computer with an Internet connection and an Internet browser, the rest of the interaction takes place here with us.

What have we achieved with OpenDESC.com? In my opinion, quite a lot:

It is said that we have prevented many a superfluous CAD system change, although we (also!) earn our money with migrations. Our earliest customers, for example, still use the same system as they did back then (even if it is now called NX) and they were spared having to change to the newer versions CATIA V4, V5, V6, etc.

Insiders maintain that we enabled many companies to save huge amounts of money because we greatly simplified the problem of troublesome "customer models", enclosing them in a scalable black box called OpenDESC.com
However, some complain that we have pretty much taken the sting out of CAD migration and removed all that made it spectacular because our structured approach means that it takes about the same amount of time as an outpatient operation.

It is only possible to make a rough estimate of the amount of data that we have moved in all these years.

What is more important is what this data included: entire automobiles (more or less sporty, turbo, bi-turbo, hybrid, fuel cells, with round and with square headlights). Only "auto motor und sport" could perhaps compare – but not in 3D! Not to mention aircraft, ships, large machines of every type – anything and everything a top-class engineer can imagine.

And customers? There are those too. From the very big ones, who occasionally abashedly admit that they do need to convert data (although their one-system strategy is a lifelong commitment), through to one-man enterprises. Traditional automotive suppliers, who seek and find urgently needed help in OpenDESC.com, are predominant.

Where is OpenDESC.com used?

In principle, everywhere where complex products are being developed and at least one Internet connection exists. We have in the meantime opened up the whole world: When we send in invoice for our services to a Swedish ball bearing manufacturer, it includes services provided to the 12 development centers distributed around the globe, all of which exchange data via OpenDESC.com.

Even though we say that we operate on all continents, I must concede that we have not yet launched activities on Antarctica since it is generally known that penguins are a bit behind the times when it comes to their engineering know-how.

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